I’m thinking of planting a mixed hedgerow that I would like to achieve a final height of 4-5ft. In it I would like to incorporate 1 or 2 fruittrees maybe quince, apple or damson - I haven’t decided yet. Looking at varieties to buy dwarf trees are much more expensive than other fruit trees. So my question is would a tree on non dwarfing rootstock produce fruit if kept to a pruned height of 4-5ft or is it worth investing in the more expensive dwarf variety?
Ann Ralph says, “...choose varieties by flavor and climate adaptability rather than by tree size. Nearly any standard and semidwarf tree — from pears, peaches and plums to apples and apricots — can be trained to stay much more compact. She explains how here:
Shipping varies by tree size but if you purchase all 1-2’ trees it’s $20 shipping.
I grow most of my plants from seed which is much more economical and gives greater selection. I currently have several trees growing in my kitchen including apple and orange. You have to account for loss. I usually sprout 5 seeds per type and pick the best to grow out. If you put seeds in damp paper towel in the fridge for two weeks then plant them they will sprout quickly.
Choose trees which can handle a stunted root system. Do well in containers:
Check gurneys.com too. Most of their trees/plants won’t ship until Spring.
Etsy.com may have some more options.
Fig potted and pruned to 12-15 inches high when purchased, annual winter pruning to increase branches. Container Varieties : ‘Brown Turkey,’ ‘Preston Prolific,’ ‘Black Genoa’ and ‘White Genoa.’
Grapes supported with trellis. Choose varieties bearing fruit close to the trunk; ‘Interlaken’ or ‘Canadice,’ ‘Seyval,’ ‘Early Muscat,’ ‘Swenson Red’ or ‘Sweet Lace’.
Pillar or columnar peaches grow to 5 feet wide, more or less. If trees spread, prune branches back to 12 inches in early spring. Peaches are self-pollinating but do need a certain number of chilling hours to bear fruit. Try ‘Crimson Rocket,’ ‘SummerFest’ or ‘Sweet-N-Up.’
Feijoa, pineapple guava is a beautiful ornamental with mint-guava-pineapple-flavored fruit. Showy, 1-inch blooms have fleshy, edible white petals surrounding scarlet stamens. Prune to shape in late winter/early spring. Feijoa requires 100-200 chilling hours below 45°F to fruit. Fruits continue to ripen after picking. Some varieties require cross-pollination.
All varieties of star fruit adapt to growing in pots. Confined root spaces help curtail upward growth, but don't hesitate to prune trees during late winter/early spring to keep height manageable. Protect these tropicals during a freeze. Varieties include ‘Arkin,’ ‘Fwang Tung,’ ‘Kari’ and ‘Sri Kembangan.’
Based on a past experience with a similar issue I had, I would buy it on the dwarfing rootstock if keeping it small is your goal. I personally prefer normal sized trees on their own roots for the most healthy plant, but if you need to keep the tree smaller, I would buy it on the dwarf rootstock.
I have a Bradford pear tree that was at my home when I bought it that I assume was on standard rootstock, as the tree is currently about 25 feet tall. It had been pruned incorrectly and negected for years, but was producing a good amount of fruit. I tried to do some "corrective" pruning and training to get it down to a size I could manage to try to correct it. It sent out so many shoots the next year, it was unbelievable. I tried doing this for about 3 years, and finally i realized the tree just wants to be big. I just let it go and it's been a lot more healthy since then.
From what I've seen, it may be just a little bit more expensive for a dwarf tree, and a lot of places sell them at the same price. A plant on a dwarf rootstock may not be as vigorous as one on a standard rootstock, but it will control the size and be a more healthy tree at a smaller size.
Striving to grow things as naturally, simply, and cheaply as possible!
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Naturally 5ft = blueberry, aronia, juneberry, currant, gooseberry, jostaberry, asian persimmon, weeping mulberry, goumi, jujube, bush cherry, beach plum.
You can even buy seedling of alot of these from your state forestry department. Or just buy seeds and then transplant.
As for the dwarf fruit trees you can just buy the dwarf rootstock for dirt cheap and let it grow naturally, they are usually fine for fresh eating/baking/etc but not that good with looks or bruise easily.
A full size tree is usually 25ft, semi-dwarf at 18ft and dwarf at 11ft.
I just don't see a 25ft cut down to 4ft or a 18ft cut down to 4ft producing alot, but it will probably stay alive. I would stick with dwarf and even that is more than 50% being chopped off.
You can also do vines too, it is a bit more tricky though. Grapes, arctic kiwi, hardy kiwi, fuzzy kiwi, akebia and others.